March is Women’s History Month, which means it’s a great opportunity to read and appreciate the influential works of significant women writers. We’ve compiled a list of books suitable for each grade level from elementary to high school. Each book explores themes of feminism, features great storytelling, and provides an opportunity to celebrate talented female writers.
Children’s Books for Women’s History Month
Third Grade: Ellie, Engineer by Jackson Pearce
The first book on our list follows third-grader Ellie who is an engineer. With the help of her best friend Kit, Ellie creates all sorts of cool inventions in her backyard workshop. When Ellie finds out that Kit is getting her dream birthday present—a dog—she decides to make the best doghouse ever for her best friend’s new puppy!
Ellie, Engineer is a chapter book geared towards young readers that will inspire all students to explore and engage in STEM subjects. Ellie’s determination and innovation encourages young girls to pursue their dreams, an important message highlighted during Women’s History Month!
Fourth Grade: Ways to Make Sunshine by Renee Watson
Optimistic fourth-grader Ryan Hart strives to be a good daughter, sister, and friend by finding ways to make sunshine when life seems to be getting her loved ones down. Even as her family faces financial stress, Ryan is determined to see the best in every situation.
Ryan is bright, spirited, and ambitious, traits that are not always encouraged in young girls. Ways To Make Sunshine gives young readers a happy story that also explores how a young girl deals with difficult situations like her own self-image, her family’s financial struggles, and arguments with her brother. The combination of Ryan’s spunky personality and the novel’s themes makes the story great for young readers to pick up during Women’s History Month.
Fifth Grade: The Secret Garden by Frances Hodgson Burnett
The last elementary-level book on our list comes from F.H. Burnett, one of the most noteworthy women writers of children’s literature. Burnett’s The Secret Garden tells the story of ten-year-old Mary Lennox. Mary’s parents are very wealthy, but they do not pay her much attention, allowing her to become quite spoiled and selfish. When her parents unexpectedly pass away, Mary is sent to live with her uncle in his country manor. There, Mary befriends her maid Martha and discovers a secret garden. Mary and her new friends resolve to restore the garden and meet Mary’s cousin along the way.
The Secret Garden teaches young readers the importance of kindness, selflessness, and hard work as Mary grows from being a spoiled child to a determined young girl. If you’re interested in the story and themes of The Secret Garden, our 5th grade ELA course walks students through the entire novel and features a reading comprehension question set for an excerpt from each chapter. Our course also features excerpts from A Little Princess, another of Burnett’s classic works of children’s literature!
Middle Grade Books for Women’s History Month
Sixth Grade: I Am Malala by Malala Yousafzai
Our first book for middle schoolers is Malala Yousafzai’s memoir. I Am Malala follows Malala’s life as a young girl before, during, and after the Taliban took control in her region. The memoir starts by describing Malala’s childhood and the emphasis placed on education. However, her life changes with the Taliban’s invasion. Soon, many restrictions are placed on day-to-day life, especially for women and girls. Malala, however, speaks out against their regime, showing her amazing bravery.
Malala’s fight for her rights and education is not only an inspiring display of courage but also an important lesson for students. Women’s History Month is dedicated to celebrating strong women and girls who stand up for what they believe in and change the world for the better. As such, March is the perfect time to learn about Malala and her story.
Seventh Grade: Little Women by Louisa May Alcott
Next on our list is a classic work of women’s literature by L. M. Alcott. Little Women tells the story of protagonist Jo March and her three sisters. Jo has dreams of becoming an author. However, the March sisters are not from a wealthy family, and must find ways to support themselves, limited by what was deemed suitable for women during the Civil War. The theme of sisterhood and the characters’ struggles against the expectations for women and the limitations those expectations put on their lives makes this novel a quintessential Women’s History Month read!
Interested in learning more about Little Women? Piqosity’s 7th grade ELA course walks students through the complete novel. The course’s Little Women unit features comprehension questions on each chapter of the novel and more in-depth questions for excerpts of each chapter that will ensure students walk away with a great understanding of this classic piece of literature!
Eighth Grade: The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
The last middle-grade book we’re featuring on this list is the dystopian bestseller The Hunger Games. This novel has seen immense success since its publication in 2008, and rightfully so. Besides its gripping plot and themes of class divide, The Hunger Games features one of the strongest heroines in the young adult genre. Katniss is fiercely protective of her little sister, independent, resourceful, and courageous.
Katniss’s determination has inspired young readers since The Hunger Games’s initial release. The first novel in the Hunger Games trilogy follows Katniss as she navigates the vicious Capitol and enters a battle to the death in the Hunger Games. Since Women’s History Month is all about celebrating women who have changed the world and made their mark on history, The Hunger Games is a perfect book to pick up this March!
Young Adult Books for Women’s History Month
Ninth Grade: A Room of One’s Own by Virginia Woolf
The first high-school level book on our list comes from one of the most influential women writers of all time. Known for her novels and essays that advocate for women’s rights, Virginia Woolf’s works have certainly shaped women’s history and modern literature.
A Room of One’s Own is an extended essay based on lectures she gave at two women’s colleges in 1928. In this work, Woolf crafts the argument that a woman must have access to her own money and space if she wants to write fiction. Woolf ponders the question: if Shakespeare had an equally talented sister, would she have been able to produce the same amount and quality of work as her brother with the limitations put on women and their education? This essay encourages critical thinking and influenced the goals of early feminism, making it a worthwhile read year-round but especially during Women’s History Month!
Tenth Grade: Frankenstein by Mary Shelley
Our tenth-grade pick comes from Mary Shelley who, at just nineteen years old, wrote Frankenstein; or, The Modern Prometheus, effectively creating the science fiction genre. Frankenstein is one of the most famous spooky stories in literature, having been studied and appreciated for over a hundred years. The novel follows college student Victor Frankenstein as he successfully attempts to create life from assembled body parts of different corpses (creepy!). However, when Victor is appalled by his creation, the monster flees and wreaks havoc on Victor’s life and his family.
Piqosity’s upcoming 10th grade English course includes a unit on Frankenstein, including a walkthrough of the entire novel and reading comprehension passages from each chapter of the novel.
Eleventh Grade: Circe by Madeline Miller
Next up is a retelling of different stories featuring the sorceress Circe from Greek mythology. Miller’s 2018 novel follows Circe through her encounters with different significant characters in Greek mythology such as Hermes, Jason, and Odysseus (check out our 9th grade English course for an entire unit on The Odyssey!).
Circe offers a feminist view on the life of the traditionally villainized figure. Circe is depicted as a resilient and intelligent woman who only has herself to rely upon. Miller’s novel is captivating and innovative, highlighting the emotional and situational struggles of an outcasted woman. Circe is a valuable read for any high school student, especially those interested in Greek mythology.
Twelfth Grade: The Awakening by Kate Chopin
The last book on our list is actually a collection of short stories by one of the most notable American women writers, Kate Chopin. Also the author of many short stories, Chopin’s works are known to explore themes of early feminism and naturalism. Set in New Orleans at the end of the 19th century, The Awakening is about Edna Pontellier, a respectable woman who is a wife and mother. However, Edna struggles against the expectations of marriage and motherhood, adopting her own unorthodox views on life.
The feminist themes explored through Edna’s societal constraints have earned Chopin renown as a gifted writer. Moreover, The Awakening was paramount in opening up the discussion of women’s mental health.
Improve Your Reading Skills with Piqosity
We hope you enjoyed this list of books for Women’s History Month! Reading works by women writers is one of the most accessible ways to teach students about important events, figures, and themes throughout women’s history.
If you’re interested in more resources to improve reading skills, check out Piqosity! Along with our SAT and ACT test prep courses, we also offer full online English courses—each includes dozens of concept lessons, personalized practice software, and over 100 reading comprehension passages to help you improve your ELA skills.
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